A typical H&M store.
  • H&M has a concept store in Sweden that offers a curated selection of clothing and accessories.
  • This store is the antithesis of H&M's standard locations. It speaks to the direction in which brick-and-mortar shopping is headed, casting doubt on whether H&M in its original form is still viable in the current market.
  • We took a look around the store via Instagram.

H&M's vision for the store of the future is minimalist, curated, and pricey – everything that the original H&M is not.

Its new concept store, which was unveiled in November 2017 in one of its existing locations in Sweden, is the antithesis of a typical H&M store. Shoppers come in to shop its limited collection of clothing, have a coffee in the store, or even take a yoga class.

While this is currently the only H&M store of its kind, it's telling of where the company believes retail is headed. It's a very different direction from what we see in the rest of its often chaotic and cluttered fleet of stores.

Once the king of fast fashion, H&M has stumbled in recent years and lost out to more nimble online players such as ASOS and Boohoo, which have cut down supply-chain times and swooped in to poach customers. As a result, sales growth at H&M has slowed. It has also battled with a mountain of unsold inventory and seen its stock price slump.

One of H&M's key areas of success has been its sister brands, specifically Cos, which is the second-largest brand in the company's portfolio and is focused on better-quality but higher-cost clothing.

The overlap between Cos and its concept store is far greater than at its own H&M brand, signifying that Cos may have become the model for H&M stores of the future.

Take a look around H&M's concept store below:

H&M's concept store is located in the upmarket Karlaplan neighbourhood in Stockholm, Sweden.

The store is tailored to the local shopper and carries a larger selection of its more expensive "Premium Quality" and "Trend" collections. The premium collection of clothing includes more expensive items such as cashmere sweaters and real leather jackets.

Source: Reuters

Inside, it looks significantly more luxurious than a typical H&M store.

The changing rooms are big and airy ...

... and there is more emphasis on the interior design of the store.

Rather than cramming in lots of racks of clothing, this location has a limited collection ...

... which includes a homeware section.

Its minimalist design looks a lot more like its higher-priced but better-quality sister store, Cos.

Cos has become one of the more successful areas of H&M's business. In a six-month report for the period from December 2016 to May 2017, H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said that Cos' profitability is in line with H&M despite having 95% fewer stores.

"The concept is based on a feeling of home, inviting and welcoming, where you want to stay for a long time,” Open Studio, the trendy design company that created the space, wrote on its website.

"After talking to the customers, we've been wanting to create a warmer and more personal feeling," Anna Tillberg, head of The Laboratory, H&M's innovation think tank that is developing the new concept, told Reuters.

To encourage customers to spend more time in the store, it offers extra services, including a coffee area.

It also stocks local brands.

According to Reuters, yoga classes and events are put on for loyalty club members.

H&M has been increasingly looking to diversify from its core brand and test out new concepts.

In April, it launched a new, millennial-focused brand called Nyden, which professes to be "affordable luxury." This brand operates online and via pop-ups, rolling out a limited collection of clothing in small batches.

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